Taika Waititi's 80s extravaganza wouldn't have been complete without the man himself arriving on set in a DeLorean — the time-travelling car from Back to the Future. The clip for The Phoenix Foundation is another homage-packed example of lo-fi genius from the Oscar nominated director. Note how Eastern European-derived keyboardist Luke Buda is playing a 'Poland' synthesizer. Said Waititi: "I spotted the DeLorean parked near our flat in Mt Cook, and left a note under the wiper saying 'what year are you from?' Turns it was one of two owned by a local doctor."
NOTE: This video is currently unavailable on NZ On Screen 'I'm in Heaven' was from the third and final Dave McArtney and The Pink Flamingos album The Catch (the song was later rerecorded, with Graham Brazier on vocals, for Hello Sailor album Shipshape & Bristol Fashion). In the original video McArtney looks moodily out a window over the city and falls into a pool in speedos, and the band plays the song amidst backlit dry ice. Fast cuts match the crisp drum beats and synth. Directed by Bruce Morrison, it won Best Music Video at the 1984 NZ Music Awards. McArtney went on to provide music for Morrison’s 1986 movie Queen City Rocker.
This follow-up to 1984 Narcs hit ‘Heart and Soul’ marked the first single off the trio’s second album. Recorded with US engineer Tim Kramer, 'Diamonds on China' got to 15 on the New Zealand charts. Influenced by Brit pop band Go West, 'Diamonds' is full of punchy guitar and synthesizers. Prolific music video director Fane Flaws showcases massed horns, street racing video games, his own distinctive illustrations, and drumsticks hitting the skins "like diamonds on china". Flaws' efforts resulted in one of his first accolades: Video of the Year at the 1985 NZ Music Awards.
'Sierra Leone' was one of those songs that quickly stood out from the pack. Andrew McLennan's synth-pop track won his new band Coconut Rough a deal with Mushroom Records, then became a runaway hit in 1983. The video, slick for the time, features bright colours, a running motif, and African imagery. But the pressure of being in demand for a single song became an albatross around the band's neck. As McLennan told website AudioCulture, "‘Sierra Leone’ became the only song from our repertoire that people wanted to hear and no matter what we did we couldn’t follow it up."
This was the last music video made by 80s band The Crocodiles before they left NZ for Australia. The clip features new band members Jonathan Swartz, Barton Price (who later found success with Aussie band The Models), and future solo star Rikki Morris, then aged 20. Singer Jenny Morris is in leopard print and pink lycra, and Rikki wears a very 80s combo of high-waisted white pants and argyle sweater, as the band clown around in a supermarket (now a Hutt Valley McDonalds). Dave Dobbyn makes a cameo appearance dressed in drag as Morris's mother.
Auckland band The Screaming Meemees shared a 45 with The Newmatics before releasing this infectious ska-pop number which became an 80s classic. In August 1981 it was the first single to enter the NZ Top 20 at No.1 and they were rewarded with a breakneck trip to Wellington for a TVNZ video made at the Avalon Studios. More produced than many early 80s Avalon clips, it comes complete with masks, white roses, pooled water and a stained glass window (perhaps inspired by reports that the ex-Catholic school boys based their early songwriting on hymns).
"Hey you, you’ve got the moves … I can’t refuse!" Aishah and the Fan Club scored a run of pop hits in New Zealand and Malaysia in the late 80s with songs like 'Sensation' and this single (which peaked at No.8 in the charts). This bold studio-set video, directed by Paul Middleditch, won Best Music Video at the 1989 New Zealand Music Awards. With paint splashes, leather jackets, shades, silhouetted choreography, Dr Martens, and slick camera moves and editing, it’s an unmistakably 80s video, coupling the crisp pop beats with a fashion shoot or dance floor vibe.
As was often the way in the early 80s, this is a fairly basic TVNZ-produced video, filmed on a studio set to a DIY marae backdrop under red, green and yellow rasta lighting. But the band are natural born performers. There's puffer vests, Hawaiian shirts, and wristbands; and singer Willie Hona’s sleeveless leopard print top worn with bone carving necklace somehow feels just right for the Pacific reggae charms of the music. 'Long Ago' was the title track from the band's third release, which also featured their no-nukes anthem 'Nuclear Waste'.
After efforts to crack the UK market in the late 80s, The Dance Exponents returned to New Zealand, rebranded themselves as The Exponents and released chart-topping 1992 album Something Beginning with C. This song was one of a series of hook-laden follow-ups to the first single — top five hit ‘Why Does Love Do this to Me?’. The Kerry Brown-directed video sees the band playing the tune in front of a kaleidoscope of cosmopolitan backdrops (New York, fairgrounds, religious icons) which loosely echo the song's lyrics. Singer Jordon Luck is in dapper Mad Hatter mode.
This song from Flying Nun stalwarts The Verlaines comes from their 10 O'Clock in the Afternoon EP — the follow-up to their signature single 'Death and the Maiden'. The video was made at TVNZ's Avalon Studios where more than a few clips were marred by inappropriate treatments in the early-80s — but The Verlaines were spared unnecessary trickery, props or actors. With a simple set and an all but imperceptible transition from black and white to colour as the only effect, the focus is on the burning, claustrophobic intensity of song and performance.